Dame Julie Walters calls on Theresa May to personally intervene to halt changes to women's refuge funding

Dame Julie Walters has urged Theresa May to personally intervene to prevent changes to women's refuge funding.

The actress told ITV News that more women would be killed by violent partners unless the government reconsidered plans to stop families using their housing benefit to pay for refuge.

She branded the decision "short-sighted" and called on Mrs May to properly recognise the "vital" lifeline that refuges provide.

Dame Julie, 67, was speaking after delivering a petition to Downing Street urging the government to rethink the proposals.

"We need more refuges, not less - we don't need them being cut," she said.

"Over half of the women and children who flee from violence and ask for help and to go to refuges are turned away.

"It's not just a place to stay - it's an actual lifeline to people. It saves lives. They are absolutely vital."

"If this proposal goes ahead, it will mean more deaths and more families without anywhere to stay."

In a personal message to the prime minister, Dame Julie said: "Come on, Theresa May is a woman - I say snap on."